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Montreal Convention 1999 Working Paper at the 38th Assembly

The Issue

The Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99) established a modern, fair and effective regime to govern airline liability to passengers and shippers on international flights. It was envisaged as the single universal liability regime for international carriage by air, replacing the earlier Warsaw Convention system that had developed haphazardly since 1929.  Universal ratification of MC99 would provide many benefits:

  • Passengers would enjoy better protection irrespective of the route or ticket type 
  • Airlines would  enjoy certainty about the rules governing their liability across their international route networks 
  • Shippers would be able to use electronic documents of carriage in air cargo, enabling the removal of paper. 

Today, more than a decade after MC99 came in to force (2003),  only 119 of the 191 ICAO-contracting States, or just 60% of the total are Parties to it. A number of fast-growing aviation markets in Asia, such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, have yet to sign up. Russia is another notable absentee. This means that a patchwork of liability regimes continue exists around the world. The result is unfairness, confusion and complexity in determining which regime covers a particular passenger or cargo itinerary. Claims handling and litigation from accidents or incidents are unnecessarily complicated.

What We Wanted from the 38th Assembly

On behalf of the industry, IATA is presenting a Working Paper to the 38th Assembly in September. With this paper, we hope to accomplish two key points:

  • Increase awareness of MC99 among ICAO Member States 
  • Request the ICAO Assembly to strongly urge all Member States who have not done so, to ratify MC99 as soon as possible

The Outcomes of the 38th Assembly

  • The Assembly encouraged universal adoption of the Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99).

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